Social Media for Events – Your Essential Event Partner!
Author Natalie Weaving
Tues 17th April 2018
Social Media for Events – Your Essential Event Partner!
Social media and events go hand in hand. From setting up the event # for attendees, exhibitors, organisers and influencers to use to having event-specific social media account. If your event isn’t visible social media, did it even happen? Having been a social media partner to many events and business expos, we know that social media can transform what might have been a low key event into a resounding success. Event organisers who encourage the people and businesses they are working with to get involved will ensure they build a loyal engaging community that keeps the buzz going long after the event has passed. However, the key is in the planning. This blog will give event organisers and attendees, a simple ‘social media for events’ plan.
YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EVENTS PLAN
Shouting loud and proud about an event in advance of it happening is essential.
We recommend that you should be promoting the event on social media from the moment the venue is confirmed or the nomination comes through. There are key milestones that can help to focus your social media activity as follows:
- Speakers or exhibitors are confirmed
- Tickets go on sale
- Finalists are announced
- Counting down to the event and more
All of these need to be in your ‘pre-event plan.
FOLLOW, ENGAGE & CONNECT
By follow, engage and connect, we mean with the official event accounts, key event personnel and fellow exhibitors, sponsors and finalists. Be part of the conversation. Find the influencers within this community, build a rapport, and share key messages from the official account. Your engagement here should be authentic – get involved in the right events for you and your social media output will naturally be more engaging.
TIP. Twitter: follow, like, list and connect with sponsors & exhibitors. A twitter list will help you easily see what is happening within the event community so you can share content to encourage reciprocal engagement. Instagram: follow the # and engage with others that use it.
NETWORK & ACTIVELY INVITE PEOPLE TO VISIT
If you are the event organisers
Getting people to register and turn up to an event can be painstakingly hard. So make sure that you tell your audience what they can expect if they attend. Share information on the seminars, special guests speakers, finalists, winners and the exhibitors. Don’t forget to chat to those that say they are attending as well.
TIP. Start a tweetchat to rally the troops weekly and to increase that exposure. To help with the admin of this you could offer guest host spots to your sponsors, finalists or exhibitors.
If you are an exhibitor
You can be the key to getting people to the event! By sharing the content from the official feeds, networking with other exhibitors and attendees, you are doing a lot for the event.
Before the event explain:
- Who you are
- Why you are there
- Where people can find you
- What they can expect by coming to see and talk to you
You could even turn this into a blog to direct people to the information they need about the event, you and how to register. If you are doing all of this as an exhibitor, the event organisers will love you, and hopefully, reward you with sharing your content.
TIP. If people are engaging with you on social media, invite them to talk to you in person at this event or give them the link to register. Pre-event social media activity is a great chance to network and make informal introductions.
If you are a sponsor of an event
Being a sponsor of an event can be very rewarding if you take advantage of the opportunity. Networking with exhibitors, finalists, attendees and the event itself online can give your brand massive exposure.
TIP. Send out personalised congratulations updates and messages to all finalists of an awards. Introduce yourself virtually to all exhibitors and speakers.
If you are a speaker at an event
Tell exhibitors or attendees what they can expect if they come to see you talk. What are you giving away that they will not get if they do not come along? Show off your accolades and track record to get people to book. Is there anything you can giveaway in partnership with the event if people register?
TIP. Don’t forget to thank people that were championing you throughout your talk. A small gesture of thanks can go a long way.
If you are a finalist for an award
First off….well done! Make sure that your updates are gracious a little bit of humility goes a long way. While winning is the end goal, being a finalist can have a huge impact on your business. So do sing loud and proud about it as it may generate a customer or two.
TIP: If there is a public vote, use social media to make it as easy as possible for people vote for you.
If you are a speaker at a conference or have an excellent incentive for people to come and see you at an expo, social media advertising could boost your presence. Social media advertising is so targeted; it means you can tell your current following, followers of others, the awards and beyond, about your business.
TIP: A small budget can go a long way, just ensure that you have an objective, decent images and a lead or sales plan to go alongside this.
Every well-managed event has a #. Monitor this and use it in every update relevant to the event. Watch out for opportunities to engage with like-minded exhibitors, sponsors and visitors.
Give them something to share
Rather than churning out the same update in 20 different ways, write a press release and send it to the local papers. Any coverage will make great content for you and the event organisers. Why not buddy up with them and see if they have contacts that you send the release to as well. Once sent, you can repurpose it, and have it on your blog for people to land on with more details about the event. If you are only attending a function as a visitor, you could write a blog on what you hope to get out of going, and then a review after. A bit of brand awareness with a purpose will never hurt your reputation, and it results in more meaningful content to share.
THE BIG DAY
Remember that people buy from people, and if you are attending a seminar or awards event, manners maketh man (and woman).
- Think outside the box.
- Be fun and gracious.
- Schedule a few posts when setting up the event, exhibiting or when preparing for your seminar.
- Take a stand photo, photo of the table, team photo, photos with the people you meet – actually take lots of photos and tag away!
- Go live – a walk through of the event, recording your seminar, showing your following that you have won that or are doing a talk on your stand. A video is a gift that keeps on giving!
- Monitor live tweets and other social media posts.
- Try and get to a seminar and share key takeaways from that.
- Use the hashtag!
- Be boring, rude or post updates under the influence.
- Rely on Wi-Fi!
- Forget battery packs – these events can rinse even the most durable of batteries!
- Use the same photo often.
- Ignore the speakers, awards ceremony or your stand visitors.
Some events have a live feed system where updates, when using the hashtag or including the host’s ID, are displayed ‘live’. These are often monitored and moderated, so while we highly recommend taking advantage of this system, do so with professionalism.
If you have exhibited at business expos before, been a speaker at a conference, or a finalist or winner, why not give tips to those that haven’t? How easy is it to let everyone know where the best place to park is, the nearest train station to the venue, or where is good to go for a drink and a bite to eat afterwards.?
Yes, that is correct! Even though the hour, day or night you have been preparing for is now over, the social media buzz (should) still live on!
Usually, someone has arranged an event debrief, exhibitors’ networking opportunity, or party with drinks, after the event. Treat it as an extension of the event. Give thanks to the hosts and connect with those you have met!
We do not mean the kebab after winning your award, or the ‘goodies’ you have picked up. If your business had a speaker or attended a seminar, share any pearls of wisdom you took away.
Re-share the photos of the event. #throwbackthursday and #flashbackfriday is a great chance to do that. Share photos of the day in an album on Facebook a day or two later, as some Instagram posts (or a carousel) or in groups on LinkedIn, as well as in the next online twitter networking sessions you participate in. Tag the hosts and people you have met that could lead (keep them warm).
The event hosts should still be using the hashtag sharing the images, press and feedback from that day. Keep checking and sharing.
Blog & review
Write up your experience with images and feedback and share with the event hosts. It is an opportunity to send out an email campaign to new (and existing) leads and provides unique content to share.
Follow up with leads, online as well as off!
Yes, online and off. Moreover, do not leave it too long after. There’s nothing worse than getting a call, email or random tweet two weeks after an event. However, don’t use someone’s invite to get in touch an opening to add someone to your email list. GDPR will have you for that.
TIP: Tweet them almost immediately to say it was ‘nice to meet you,’ like their business page on FB (as your page AND YOU) and post on their wall, or message the page privately. Connect on LinkedIn, send them a personalised invite to connect, and follow their company page on LinkedIn. Follow on Instagram as well and start to engage with their photos and stories.
This is a very general social media for events plan. However, by following these steps, you can ensure that you are seen and noticed at any event. Which events have you been to that have done social media well? We would love to know.
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